#182: Dragonfly, West Port, Edinburgh

Dragonfly, West Port, Edinburgh (exterior)

Dragonfly is a quirky cocktail bar housed in an ex fire station. It’s got a strange, oriental-ish thing going on, but in a tongue-in-cheek kind of way. The wallpaper has yellow karate guys, there’s some sort of Budda/Krishna/deity statue, an oriental mural on the wall.

Dragonfly, West Port, Edinburgh (interior)The seating areas are split over three levels, ground floor where the bar is, an open balcony level looking down over the bar (with a handy, angled, bar-length mirror for seeing up/downstairs). A second bar is next door but was closed tonight. It’s open at the weekend (or has been in the past at least), and is available for private hire too.

For a Tuesday evening it wasn’t doing so badly for itself, a few folk in enjoying the soul, funk and reggae.

This place has many memories of a couple of previous incarnations when we lived nearby, but the most memorable story was not all that long ago. Let’s just say it was a good job Russ wasn’t with us on this visit since he got barred a few years ago. We’d already had a few pints, though we weren’t drunk, and somebody spotted a hatch in the floor. We figured it was for delivering kegs down to the cellar. I don’t know what possessed the boy, maybe one of us dared him, but when Russ noticed the bar staff weren’t watching he promptly popped the hatch and slid down into the basement! The funny thing was that he couldn’t get out again. We were standing on the hatch and the basement door was locked from the outside. A staff member noticed him on CCTV (yes, in the basement) and he was summarily dismissed and told he was barred for life. What an eejit.

The building was built in 1884 on the site of one of James Braidwood’s four fire stations set up in the 1820s, part of Europe’s first municipal fire brigade. There’s a lot more detail in this digitised copy of “Aye Ready!”, the history of Edinburgh Fire Brigade. When it mentions Portsburgh, that was the name of the town outside the West Port of Edinburgh city walls, now simply West Port.

The Bar

Dragonfly, West Port, Edinburgh (interior, bar)

Not a lot to choose beer-wise, though it is a cocktail bar. All kegs: Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, Budweiser Budvar, Guinness, Tennent’s Lager.

Pints were about £3.50.

Cocktails from around £4 to £8 and some fancy-sounding wines.


Nothing cooked in-house, but they’ve apparently teamed up with Mamma’s in the Grassmarket who will deliver pizza to your table. Alternatively, presumably for private functions only, canapés can be arranged from Villager.


DJ sets at the weekend. Function room for hire.

Castle View



Website: www.dragonflycocktailbar.com
Facebook: Dragonfly


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